It’s sad, so sad. It’s a sad, sad situation. And it’s getting more and more absurd.

UFC on ESPN 18: Smith vs Clark Predictions & Results

Reeeeeeeeeeeee. Yet another cancelled main event caused by COVID. Curtis Blaydes is the unfortunate fighter to have contracted the virus, testing positive just a couple days before he was supposed to test himself against the hard hitting, fan favourite Derrick Lewis. ‘This is sucks’ as a Great Thinker once put it. Once again, the Heavyweight top-five is put into a state of limbo with the N’Gannou Miocic rematch the only fight to really make sense. Finding the next challenger for the Heavyweight gold will have to put on ice for now. Although can you imagine the N’Gannou Lewis rematch being the Cameroonian’s first title defence? Enjoy selling that Dana, lmao.

With the loss of the main event, the rest of the card looks crazy weak. There just aren’t any substance fights outside of a couple prospect watches. The co-main event is embarrasing for the UFC, and an insult to the fighters lower on the billing. Parker Porter entered the octagon a couple pounds below the morbidly obese classification, and was slept in a round during his debut. Josh Parisian has flirted with his UFC debut for a while but largely failed during his two spells on the Ultimate Fighter and DWCS. Neither man is destined for the lofty heights of the Heavyweight rankings, so why is it a co-main? As you can imagine, the analysis is going to be pretty slim for this card.

Miguel Baeza def. Matt Brown at UFC on ESPN 8: Best photos | MMA Junkie
Miguel Baeza and Matt Brown throw down in the pocket in their back and forth war.

Main Event

Light Heavyweight (205)

Anthony Smith (33-16) vs Devin Clark (12-4)

Anthony Smith has made his career from being a ‘fight anytime, anywhere’ type of man. On a two-fight slide, both matches effectively glorified beatdowns, Smith really needed strong advice to sit this one out. But that is not the Lionheart way. On the plus side, Devin Clark is nowhere near the quality of Aleksandar Rakić or Glover Teixeira. While three months may not be enough time for Smith to have fully recovered, physically or mentally, there is no doubt Smith will be itching to stop his dramatic fall down the Light Heavyweight rankings.

I’d hate to be the guy to tell a fighter it is time to hang up their gloves, but in Smith’s case, it is probably best for his health. Not only has he absorbed an unreal amount of damage over his thirteen-year, fifty fight career, he has been sent to the shadow realm on several occasions. Worse still, Smith didn’t look like he wanted to fight during his last bout against Rakić. After feeling the youthful power of Rakić, Smith entered a defensive shell which solely aimed to survive. It is a terrible far-cry from Smith’s 2018-2019 glory years which saw him on an unlikely three-fight tear up into a title shot against Jon Jones. Anyway, the positives. Smith has been criminally underrated throughout his entire career. An unbelievable heart, befitting his nickname, Smith has sharp boxing and a fine submission game that exploits the mistakes of opponent’s. Willing to outlast those in front of him, Clark will struggle to break Smith on the mat as his skills are nowhere near comparable to those of Teixeira or Rakić.

Devin Clark has been around in the UFC for a long time now, almost five years, but there is no shame if you are unaccustomed with his name. Having never secured himself a finish, Clark hasn’t exactly marketed himself. Yet if you have followed Clark since his debut (a first-round sleeping at the hands of Alex Nicholson), you would know the physical specimen is an exciting athlete who pushes a decent pace. Losses to quality fighters in Rakić and Jan Błachowicz, as well as a submission defeat to Ryan Spann, Clark has routinely shot himself in the foot when attempting to assert himself in the Light Heavyweight rankings. Clark looked sketchy against Alonzo Menifeld in his last fight. Only just narrowly escaping the frightening power of his opponent during the first round, Clark was able to grapple-hump his way to a decision victory over a gassed Menifeld in rounds two and three.

Predicted Result: Smith Decision

Smith is the better quality fighter, so despite all the red flags that are screaming in my face, I still cannot choose Clark to comfortably win. Smith is sharper with his hands, more technical in the clinch, and capable of keeping the hefty size of Clark at a safe distance.

In a single moment, Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith show thrill and  heartbreak of MMA - MMA Fighting
Anthony Smith refused to fold over to the former title challenger, Alexander Gustafsson, and eventually submitted him in the fourth round.

Result: Smith def. Clark // Submission (triangle choke) Round 1 2:34

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Co-Main Event

Heavyweight (265)

Josh Parisian (13-3) vs Parker Porter (10-6)

Bruh, if this was the co-main event of a Bellator card, Scott Coker would be rightly criticised on twitter. So why then, when the UFC puts this on, that the vocal MMA audience just gives Dana White a free pass? Josh Parisian is the fitter fighter in this showdown lmao. With concrete feet, Parisian is a rock-em-sock-em robot when fighting. Throwing every shot with power, Parisian falls into his shots but is luckily able to find the target more often than not. With no real hand speed or defensive savvy to note, Parisian will still be able to break into the UFC top-fifteen based on his willingness to brawl and a half-decent chin.

Parker Porter is almost a like-for-like fighter with a bigger belly and less power. Out-gunned on the feet, Porter needs to find a takedown early to win this one. Engaging in a sloppy brawl in the centre of the octagon will benefit Parisian’s power, and Porter instead needs to expose Parisian’s lack of ground game.

Predicted Result: Parisian TKO Round 1

Please be a first-round finish. Please. Don’t make me suffer through a bar room brawl. AT least Parisian has the occasional wild spinning back-fist to keep us entertained.

TUF Heavy Hitters Blog: Josh Parisian Introduction | UFC
Josh Parisian knocks out another chubby checker in Greg Rebello with a spinning backfist on DWCS.

Result: Porter def. Parisian // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 30-27, 30-26)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Main Card

Welterweight (170)

Miguel Baeza (9-0) vs Takashi Sato (16-3)

Miguel Baeza is a lucky, lucky boi. On the ropes several times against Matt Brown, Baeza was exposed horrendously in the clinch and struggled to stop Brown’s famous elbows. At distance, however, Baeza looked far more comfortable and showed crisp boxing combinations that eventually cracked the weathered chin of the veteran. Very green and with much refining left beyond striking, Baeza has the time to develop but he needs to work on technical side of the game rather than totally relying on his natural physical gifts.

Sato is a terrific test for Baeza. An offence-first fighter, Sato’s power and aggression comes with glaring defensive issues. This is very much a 50/50 fight that may end up finished in a matter of minutes. Both men’s wild striking leaves themselves exposed, but if Sato is cracked early, he always has the option to panic wrestle.

Predicted Result: Sato Decision

Too tough to call this one. Baeza has the more deadly power on the feet. Sato is slicker and will surely embrace a clinch-heavy gameplan that Brown had much success with.

Result: Baeza def. Sato // Submission (arm-triangle choke) Round 2 4:28

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Featherweight (145)

Bill Algeo (13-5) vs Spike Carlyle (9-2)

An aggressive wrestler, Bill Algeo brings the heat and wants to punish opponents on the mat. Algeo’s success stems from his gas tank which never stops running. Regularly threatening submissions, Algeo irritates opponents and chips away until the final bell. Because of the front-foot pressure, Algeo has little to write home about in terms of striking, often throwing arm punches that cloud an opponent’s vision rather than hurt them.

Love me a bit of Spike Carlyle. Carlyle is a fighter that will remain in the UFC, regardless if he loses his next three matches – he is must-watch TV. Refusing to exit the pocket, Carlyle throws barrages of bombs and willingly expends his entire gas tank in the first-round. Moreover, despite complete exhausation, Carlyle showed incredible heart and submission defence as he survived the third round against submission whizz, Billy Quarantillo. Roids or not, Carlyle is damn strong.

Predicted Result: Carlyle TKO Round 1

The Ginger King is far too powerful on the feet for Algeo to be able survive. Sure, Algeo is more than capable of taking the fight to the ground, but Carlyle’s natural strength plays into his TDD and ground game.

Result: Algeo def. Carlyle // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Preliminary Card

Women’s Bantamweight (135)

Ashlee Evans-Smith (6-4) vs Norma Dumont (4-1)

After correctly moving up in weight to Bantamweight, having regularly drained herself at Flyweight, Ashlee Evans-Smith should now be healthy enough to throw more than the occasional flurry. Evans-Smith has never really fought for an extended period during her stop-start career, and has struggled to beat any opponents of note save for a dubious split decision against Marion Reneau back in 2016. While Smith has not fought for almost two years now, her striking should be more than adequate against tame opponents.

Dumont is of renown for being sparked out in the first round by Megan Anderson during her debut back in February this year. At thirty years old, with only five professional fights, and enduring horrendous 35-pound cuts to make the Bantamweight weight limit, Dumont may not have much time left with the UFC. On the mat is where Dumont shines, but she will struggle to work inside the long-range striking of Evans-Smith to secure the takedown.

Predicted Result: Evans-Smith Decision

Evans-Smith has more than acceptable striking when facing one-dimensional fighters such as Dumont. At a healthier weight class, there is little reason why Evans-Smith should tail off in the latter rounds, and will be able to remain defensively aware of Dumont’s ground game threat.

Result: Dumont def. Evans-Smith // Decision (unanimous – 30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Bantamweight (135)

Martin Day (8-4) vs Anderson dos Santos (20-8)

Martin Day is 0-2 in the UFC, Anderson dos Santos is 0-2 in the UFC, on paper this should be a dreadful fight, but hardcore fans love these showdowns when they see them. Very sadly for one fighters, this will be a fight for a contract extension, therefore there is a lot on the line for both men. Day is an exciting fighter. Slightly robotic on the feet, Day jumps in and out of the pocket with his strikes alongside his limited head movement. As a result, Day is tagged on the button often. Lots of teep kicks, straights to the body and speculative body kicks – Day throws everything at the wall and hope something sticks.

Dos Santos is your typical hearty slugger who attempts to bring fighters into deep waters and test their mettle. Day should be able to lay down a striking clinic, but dos Santos’ pressure is ferocious and he has admirable power that could trouble Day.

Predicted Result: Day TKO Round 2

Day is the fresher fighter with the slicker striking. Possessing a wide array of shots, Day’s success will come from his willingness to put money into the body of his opponent.

Result: dos Santos def. Day // Submission (guillotine choke) Round 1 4:35

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Rachael Ostovich (8-4) vs Gina Mazany (6-4)

Sex sells. This is the only reason as to how Ostovich has kept her place in the UFC. Hordes of horny MMA fans must bump the viewing figures, or else Dana has been asking for out-of-Octagon performances from his fighters again. In terms of fighting, Ostovich is incredibly limited on the feet but she has a decent chin and heart. A rugged wrestler, Ostovich is powerful when on top and can sneak in a submission on amateur opponents.

This might be the easiest ‘legitimate’ match-up that the UFC could possibly give Ostovich. Blown away on the feet when bull rushed, Mazny wilts under pressure. Mazny can wrestle however and will be able to test Ostovich. In all honesty though, I just don’t care.

Predicted Result: Ostovich Decision

Such an awful match. Ostovich is the aggressor of the two, and she had genuine success against Paige Van Zant until she got complacent on the mat.

Result: Mazany def. Ostovich // TKO (front kick and punches) Round 3 4:10

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Featherweight (145)

Kai Kamaka III (8-2) vs Jonathan Pearce (9-4)

Kamaka III is an aggressive volume striker that is fun to watch. Despite a six-fight decision streak, Kamaka III brings the heat with chopping calf kicks to slow opponents before blitzing opponents in the pocket with lightning fast hand speed.

A regional fighter, Pearce is a janky striker with no real defensive knowledge. Moving across the octagon like he is wading through water, Pearce’s chin is always available for an opponent. The one positive for Pearce is the considerable power he carries, so there is always the chance of catching a lunging Kamaka.

Predicted Result: Kamaka III TKO Round 3

Seems silly to pick Kamaka for a finish after such a barren spell but Pearce is too slow on the feet to avoid Kamaka’s flurries.

Result: Pearce def. Kamaka III // TKO (punches) Round 2 4:28

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

Flyweight (125)

Su Mudaerji (12-4) vs Malcolm Gordon (12-4)

Mudaerji is a young prospect that is still very green. A slick kickboxer, Mudaerji fights very side-on as a base to launch a variety of kicks from. Mudaerji’s hands needs tightening, but his kicks are gorgeous to watch, and there is power there that can hopefully be drawn out further. Decent TDD too!

Malcolm Gordon is a very well-rounded fighter, favouring his ground game the longer the fight goes on. While Gordon’s boxing defence is rather static, he carries enough power that leaves not many opponents willing to risk testing his chin.

Predicted Result: Mudaerji TKO Round 3

On the ground, Gordon can certainly test Mudaerji, but the fight shouldn’t be able to get there in the first place. Mudaerji has a strong TDD, and his fleet footwork will keep Gordon chasing thin air.

Result: Mudaerji def. Gordon // KO (punches) Round 1 0:44

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Catchweight (140)

Nate Maness (12-1) vs Luke Sanders (13-3)

Maness overcame the very tough Johnny Munoz in his debut by utilising high volume barrages and a very strong TDD. Despite spending most of the fight on his back, he was completely able to nullify Munoz’s ground and pound. Moreover, Maness was able to throw almost two hundred strikes in the limited time he spent standing.

Luke Sanders isn’t long for the UFC. Since 2016, Sanders has struggled against a mixed bag of opposition. Losing to Soukhamtath via second round knockout was a terrible mark against his name. Also, in a much more depressing affair, Sanders had the audacity to knock out former P4P great, Renan Barão during his last fight. Big no no.

Predicted Result: Maness TKO Round 3

Maness has far too much power and intensity on the feet for Sander’s leaky striking defence to be able to cope.

Result: Maness def. Sanders // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 2:29

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Prediction Accuracy

UFC on ESPN 18: Smith vs Clark

Winner: 3/10

Method: 2/10

Round: 1/10

2020 MMA Season

Winner: 171/274

Method: 124/274

Round: 111/274

Takeaway comments: You win some, you lose some lads.

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